It’s funny how a person can love something they weren’t even sure they liked on the first encounter.
Take “The Big Lebowski” and Will Russell.
“Even I when I first saw it, I didn’t dislike it, but I was kind of indifferent to it,” Russell said. “Certainly didn’t have an inkling that one day I would start a festival celebrating it. But, yeah, I ended up catching it a few more times and on the third time I just completely fell in love with it. I was absolutely smitten.
“I was just LOLing all the time and I began to quote the dialog all the time. Still to this day, it makes me giddy. I have not lost that loving feeling, and I’ve probably seen the film over 100 times.”
As he mentioned, Russell—along with Bill Green and Scott Shuffitt—would launch Lebowski Fest in 2002.
So, now, fans of ‘The Big Lebowski’ will have their annual festival in Louisville this weekend celebrating the cult classic film, which celebrates its 15th year this year.
The annual Lebowski Fest begins Friday and runs through Sunday. Most events are at Executive Strike & Spare on Phillips Lane (the big one is the bowling party on Saturday).
The events will feature contests, games and fans dressed in costumes inspired by the movie, which was written and directed by the Coen Brothers.
The film wasn’t much appreciated when it was released. The Coens had won an Academy Award for “Fargo,” and critics and movie-goers weren’t much impressed, Russell noted.
But you can’t watch it like a movie, he said.
“Unlike other movies where you watch it initially for the plot, the plot of ‘The Big Lebowski’ is very complicated and ultimately unimportant,” Russell said. “It’s more like your favorite album—it gets better each time you listen to it.”
Here’s a schedule of events:
July 18th – The Dude’s Band (official pre-party) @ Wicks Pizza – 975 Baxter Ave – Free – 7:30 – 9:30
July 18th – Big Lebowski Painting Class – 7pm – 9pm – @ Pinot’s Pallette – 291 N Hubbard’s Ln – Reserve your spot here.
July 19th – Lebowski Live Lunch Radio Hour – Live in studio intimate performance by Kyle Gass Band broadcast on WFPK.org (We ain’t one-at-a-timing here) – Limited Seating – All Ages – Free – 12pm @ WFPK Studios 619 S. 4th St.
July 19th – Movie Party – Music by Kyle Gass Band (Of Tenacious D fame) and special guest Kentucky Prophet + Screening of The Big Lebowski – All Ages – 8pm @ Executive Lawn – 911 Phillips Ln – $20 adv / $25 day of
July 20th – Garden Party – Lebowski-themed games and music by Leftover Cuties,March Madness Marching Band, Taylor Brashears w/ Va Va Vixens & Squeeze-bot – All Ages – 4pm @ Executive Lawn – 911 Phillips Ln – $15 adv / $20 day of
July 20th – Bowling Party – Unlimited bowling, costume, trivia and other contests. Bowling and shoe rental included. Bowling is general admission and not guaranteed – All Ages 8pm to Midnight @ Executive Strike & Spare – 911 Phillips Ln. – $25 adv / $30 day of
July 20th – Legendary After Party – Food trucks, DJ Jason Clark and more dancing sweaty nerds than you can shake a marmot at. – All Ages – Free – @ Executive Strike & Spare Lounge – Midnight to ???
July 21st – “Strongly Vaginal” Lebowski Art Show Reception – Lebowski-themed art by various artists – All Ages – Free – @ WHY Lou Two: Electric NuLu Gallery – 806 E. Market St – 1pm.
For ticket information, go to lebowskifest.com.